The Cape Camino pilgrimage for me has always been a journey of self-discovery and appreciation for who I am, and what it means to be me. I often find that I turn introspective during this time and reassess my life; what I have achieved thus far and what I choose to put in my path in the future. This is important to me but sometimes I, as well as many others, lose the beauty of the world around me. There is so much beauty and authenticity to the Cape Camino, which I hope to shed light on.
The paths on which you walk, pass through what I would call the most unique botanical Biome in the world. Fynbos is a biome of plants that is more diverse than any other on earth! There are literally more species of plants on your trail than you would find in the Amazon Rainforests of South America. There are over 9000 plant species found on the Cape Camino alone and this type of vegetation isn’t found anywhere else on earth. I implore you to take a moment and look past the collection low scrubby plants to see the sheer diversity of native Fynbos vegetation around you. South Africa’s national flower is amongst these plants, the King Protea, which is one of the 3 major families along with Ericas and Reeds.
And with such a variety of plants, one can only expect to find our beautiful animals in tow. Fynbos cannot support herds of large mammals because of its low nutrient content. However, smaller mammals common to fynbos are klipspringers, chacma baboons, grysbok, dassies, mongooses, and my favourite..the striped mouse. Because fynbos does not support many bird species, those that are in the area are found nowhere else. Both the cape Sugarbird and the Orange breasted sunbird play an important role in pollinating flowers that you see. One of my favourite things to spot on trail is the very rare geometric Tortoise. These are difficult to find as they are regarded as the as the world’s second rarest tortoise and they blend in well.
Now for my favourite part of the pilgrimage…the ocean. The ocean around the peninsula is full of life, which is in full view of your pilgrimage. Massive pods of dolphins can be seen throughout the day as well as passing Southern Right Whales. The most charming part of the trip is most certainly the penguins in Simonstown. Where most road crossings have signs of people crossing, here, there are penguin crossing signs.
The Cape Camino is a journey of self-discovery and self love but it is also an opportunity to experience the wonders which nature has to offer. The point is that there is so much going on around you and if you just take in a minute to stop and take it all in. Not just the sheer expanse of the landscape but really the understanding of the ecological beauty that the Cape Camino has to offer.
It does not matter where in the world you are. Do yourselves a favour, get to South Africa and do the Cape Camino Pilgrimage. Link to their website is below.